MONDAY MORNING JOLT
By Leo Paciga @FFHoudini
Welcome to this week’s edition of the “Monday Morning Jolt” – a weekly look back at the happenings and performances from around the NFL, focusing on situations and players that caught my eye or made me scratch my head in either awe or disbelief. Let’s jump right in and take a closer look at week number one of the NFL season.
- That was certainly a serious aerial display by the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning on Thursday night. And to think we spent a good portion of the week talking up and trying to decipher the muddy waters known as the Denver running back situation. Knowshon Moreno did well in pass protection, and let’s be honest, protecting Peyton is the most valuable skill any Bronco running back can bring to the table. It was also nice to see dynasty darling Julius Thomas take what appears to be the next step in becoming that big bodied, athletic, seam stretching tight end so many fantasy football owners covet. Let’s face it, with soooooo many mouths to feed in their laser sharp passing attack, the Broncos may be better served by simply hiring Sally Struthers for a preemptive public service infomercial.
- Usually, the Super Bowl champions get to open the season at home. This year, however, there was a conflict in Baltimore with baseball’s Orioles playing at home and so the game was switched to the Mile High City. Apparently no one told the Ravens’ defense that the game had been moved to a new location because they simply didn’t show up. The 2013 Ravens did, in one night, what the 2012 defensive unit took 10 games to do – yield seven passing touchdowns. The 49 points hung on the scoreboard by the Denver Broncos were also the most points allowed in a single game by the Ravens defense in franchise history. Ouch.
- UDFA wide receiver Marlon Brown performed well for the Ravens after the Jacoby Jones injury.
- I’ve said it before, but it deserves repeating……Vikings running back Adrian Peterson simply isn’t human.
- The Vikings game provides a perfect fantasy football example of the contrast between dynasty owners and redraft owners. Redraft owners look at the stat line by Jerome Simpson (7-140) and say, “wow, Simpson might be a good waiver wire add this week. Dynasty owners, on the other hand, say, “hmmmm, Simpson’s big game may provide a good opportunity to buy rookie Cordarrelle Patterson.
- Stevan Ridley didn’t just leave the football on the turf against the Bills; Ridley also left the door wide open for fellow running back Shane Vereen. Vereen looked good as a duel threat weapon racking up 111 yards on 14 carries and adding another 58 yards thru the air on 7 receptions. Ridley may be coming off a 1,200 yard season with 12 TDs in 2012, but he’s digging himself a serious hole with these fumbles.
- Question: Who says the following – “Wow, he’s putting on a clinic. Ugh, he’s hurt….no wait, he’s back in. Oh no, now he’s hurt again. Yes, he’s back in there tearing it up.” Answer: Danny Amendola owners every single week. And while we’re talking about New England wide receivers, Julian Edelman is not this season’s Kevin Ogletree. With Tom Brady at quarterback and Danny Amendola taking on tacklers like he’s 6’4″, 230 lbs.; Edelman will be a contributor on a weekly basis for the Patriots.
- Hey Joe Flacco……Anquan Boldin and his 208 receiving yards say “what’s up?”
- What’s more dangerous, “read option” Colin Kaepernick or “drop back passer” Colin Kaepernick? I’m not sure, but I do know the two versions together make a virtually unstoppable combination at QB and defensive coordinators everywhere took notice of Kaepernick’s performance (412 yards, 3 TDs) from the pocket on Sunday.
- I can hear the C.J. Spiller doubters already. Yes, I know Fred Jackson finished the day with 13 carries. Yes, Fred Jackson also caught 4 passes to C.J. Spiller’s 5 receptions. If you’re a C.J. Spiller owner you can step away from the ledge because it’s going to be ok. The Bills will keep putting the ball in Spiller’s hands because he gives them the best chance to win football games and he’s simply too talented to be bottled up every week by defenders.
- Brian Hartline has to be the happiest man on the planet that the Dolphins signed Mike Wallace during the off season. “All World” corner back Joe Haden shadowed Mike Wallace everywhere on the field Sunday, limiting the Dolphins’ playmaker to 1 catch for 15 yards while Brian Hartline was free to run around unchecked to the tune of 9 receptions, 114 yards and a TD.
- Miami running back Lamar Miller is doing his best to keep Daniel Thomas employed in the NFL. Miller simply couldn’t get into any type of rhythm against a Cleveland defense committed to stopping the run. Miller’s trademark burst and cutback ability were nonexistent as the second year back managed a measly 3 yards on 10 carries. As disappointing as this performance was, I honestly believe Lamar Miller will bounce back next week against the Indianapolis Colts and show us all what he’s capable of doing on the field.
- Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. I’m not sure if it was the cross country travel, the early east coast start time or a tough Carolina defense (maybe all three?), but Wilson wasn’t as sharp and didn’t process information/situations as well as he normally does on game day. The Seahawks were extremely lucky to come out of Carolina with a win.
- Quarterback Terrelle Pryor infused the Oakland offense with a ton of excitement, but more importantly, Pryor gave the Raiders a chance to win the football game against the Colts. Pryor may have some shortcomings throwing the ball, but there’s enough talent for the Raiders to take a good long look at this kid.
- Welcome back to prime time Larry Fitzgerald! All of us have missed you…..just not as badly as some of the throws from your previous quarterbacks before Carson Palmer arrived in Arizona.
- Fun fact – based on his week 1 performance, Reggie Bush is on pace for over 3,000 yard from scrimmage. And if he’s available, grab Joique Bell off waivers this week. Bell has the skills and power to step in and be successful as Bush’s back up in either limited or extended duty.
- As much as I love “Megatron” it seems as if Calvin Johnson leaves 2 or 3 touchdowns on the field every week. Of course even leaving a few TDs on the field is still impressive because Calvin is usually getting mauled by 3 defenders on every pass play.
- I’m pretty sure Saints wide receiver Kenny Stills is the newer, shinier version of Lance Moore.
- As ugly as the Titans/Steelers game was on Sunday, it pales in comparison to how ugly the 2013 season may be for “Steeler Nation” and losing center Maurkice Pouncey for the year only compounds the problems. Todd Haley is challenged as an offensive coordinator even when things are running smoothly so an implosion of biblical proportions may be on the horizon in Pittsburgh.
- Blaine Gabbert is the only quarterback in the NFL who makes Titans QB Jake Locker look like an “All Pro”. The thirty-five passing attempts by Gabbert on Sunday translated into a whopping 121 yards and 2 interceptions. Jacksonville needs to make Chad Henne the starter for 2013 and just move on from the Gabbert debacle.
- Congratulations to the New York Jets for opening the season with an upset victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith looked poised in his first NFL start and made the most of the Jets limited offensive resources. Hopefully Rex Ryan learned something from watching Mark Sanchez‘s self-esteem deteriorate right in front of his eyes and he does more this time around to help Smith mature as an NFL QB.
- I guess SI’s Peter King was spot on with his observations from the Rams training camp this summer. King called TE Jared Cook “athletic and imposing” and said “I have not seen a better offensive weapon in all the practices I’ve seen on this training camp tour” than Cook. I wrote earlier this summer that I wanted to see a little more from Cook before I jumped in with both feet. Next time I’ll just listen to Mr. King and grab my snorkel.
- The AFC North is a collective 0-4 after week one. Not sure what that means, but I found it interesting.
- If anyone sees Green Bay wide receiver James Jones, please tell the F.B.I that he’s not really missing and also tell James he has a game Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Thanks in advance.
- Why is David Wilson allergic to holding onto the football? The second year running back for the Giants has been near the top of everyone’s breakout list for 2013, but Wilson started off another season with a dreadful performance fumbling twice against the Cowboys. David Wilson has the speed and ability to be a very special player in this league, but all of that is for naught if he doesn’t learn how to hang onto the rock. All that said, I fully expect the Giants to have a veteran running back like Willis McGahee or Michael Turner at practice early in the week.
- It was nice to see Hakeem Nicks playing what seemed to be injury free football for the Giants even if it was Victor Cruz who dominated red zone targets against the Cowboys.
- When the Redskins take the field Monday night with Robert Griffin III under center, I’m pretty sure that the happiest guy around will be Dr. James Andrews. Over the summer, Dr. Andrews went from being one of the leading orthopedic surgeons in the world to basically leading the dog and pony show known only as RG3’s rehabilitation.
Well, that wraps up this week’s “Monday Morning Jolt” and a look back at week number one of the NFL season. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me here at DFW or on Twitter @FFHoudini. Until next Monday, here’s hoping all your fantasy starters perform well and stay injury free.
Read more DFW articles by: Leo Paciga